The coast of the gift

The Manatee Community Foundation’s 2022 Spirit of Manatee Awards Luncheon will honor seven champions of philanthropy and leadership in Manatee County.

Lifetime Spirit Honorees Joe and Barbara Najmy, named by Easterseals Southwest Florida, the State College of Florida Foundation and the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, Inc., will be celebrated for decades of leadership in the service of estate planning, charitable giving and inspiration from others to support the community. The couple have been active in a multitude of missions, including promoting education, disability inclusion and access, and community building.

Others to be recognized are: Steve and Carolyn Roskamp, ​​Leadership Spirit recipients, nominated by United Way Suncoast and the Manatee County School District, and Omar Edwards, nominated by Sarasota-Bradenton Kappa Alpha Psi Project Guide Right; Bank of America, winner of Community Spirit; and Gabriella Cortes-Alban, Young Spirit winner, nominated by the Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County. The Charles Clapsaddle Community Spotlight Award will be presented to Paul Sharff, posthumously. Sharff was president and CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County and died suddenly in January.

“All recipients have dedicated a significant portion of their lives to advancing opportunity for others,” said Susie Bowie, executive director of the Manatee Community Foundation. “They reflect the calm, humble and determined way many people give in Manatee County, and they will be celebrated with gratitude.”

The annual celebration will take place at the Bradenton Area Convention Center on Wednesday, March 30 at 11:30 a.m. Buy your tickets online at

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